Irvine, Orange County Probate Attorney

Representing individuals, beneficiaries and executors in Orange County Probate Court and other probate courts throughout Southern California.


What to Do if a Relative or Friend Passes Away without a Trust

Please ask the family of the decedent to fill out pages 9 to 13 of the Confidential Client Worksheet and have that available when you call to arrange a consultation in which we can explain your alternatives. Title and/or beneficiary designation to each asset will assist us in the determination of whether a probate proceeding will be necessary

Probate Process in California

Probate is the usually very expensive and time-consuming court supervised transfer of assets from the decedent to the new lawful owners, after payment of debts and taxes. Wills guarantee probate. An unfunded trust also usually results in probate.

Mr. Wittick brings 17 years of experience and compassion to contested and uncontested probate cases. The process starts with the filing of a petition for probate of the decedents will, or if there is no will, for letters of administration. The will, if any, then must be proven. An executor (will) or administrator (no will) must be appointed and bonded, the assets must be collected, appraised and inventoried, the debts must be identified, creditors notified and valid claims paid, tax returns must be filed and taxes paid, an accounting must be filed for all probate actions and expenses and finally title must be transferred to all of the decedent’s assets either to the beneficiaries of the will or to the heirs at law if there is no will.

Duration of Probate and Compensation to Attorney and Personal Representative

Probates can be relatively fast and inexpensive in a few cases such as:

  • where the decedent’s assets are under $100,000, there is no real property in the estate, and there is no Medi-Cal claim
  • where a surviving spouse inherits all assets and there are no child beneficiaries

In most other cases, probates are lengthy and usually take about 1 1/2 years to complete. Complicated or contested probates can last for years. Compensation is set by statute for the attorney and for the personal representative, is based upon the gross value of the estate, and is computed as follows for each:

Probate Fees:

4% of the first $100,000
3% of the next $100,000
2% of the next $800,000
1% of the next $9,000,000

 Therefore, both fees total as follows:

Estate Size - Probate Fee

$100,000 - $8,000
$500,000 - $26,000
$1,000,000 - $46,000
$1,500,000 - $56,000
$2,000,000 - $66,000
$2,500,000 - $76,000
$3,000,000 - $86,000
$4,000,000 - $106,000
$5,000,000 - $126,000

Law Offices Of Michael J. Wittick, A Professional Law Corporation is located in Irvine, CA and serves clients with estate and wealth preservation matters throughout Irvine, Lake Forest, Laguna Woods, Laguna Hills, Foothill Ranch, Tustin, Aliso Viejo and the surrounding areas.

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7700 Irvine Center Drive, Suite 800, Irvine, CA 92618
| Phone: 949-753-2829

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